From sunset on the eve of Monday, 4 March 2019 to the morning of 5 March 2019, Yogi’s across the globe will celebrate Maha Shivratri, a night-long hypnotic-spiritual celebration to honour the deity Shiva.
Hailed as both the creator and the destroyer, the blissful mystic meditating on a mountain and the ecstatic wild man dancing in the cremation ground. Shiva performs the tandava, a vigorous dance that maintains creation, preservation and dissolution. There are two parts to his dance the violent and destructive Rudra Tandava and the blissful Ananda Tandava. He is therefore hailed as the divinity of dance and yoga, of joy and discipline.
This dark night – with no moon to light the sky – has been celebrated in ancient Egypt, Greece and India since antiquity. The worship of Thoth in Egypt, Dionysus in Greece, Pashupathi or Shiva in India, suggests that these cultures shared a common belief – the only way to transform was to let go of the norm.
Alexander The Great had referred to Shiva as the Indian Dionysus. Like the Dionysian Mysteries, Shiva worship involved the use of trance inducing techniques to remove inhibitions. This allowed the individual to return to their natural state. Over the centuries this ritual has been associated with the use of psychedelic herbs, shamanic drumming, rhythmic chanting, yogic ascetics and trance dance. Basically it is a night where you are encouraged to let go…. Let go of all limitations and envision the new.
From our earliest times, humans have strived to overcome challenges, to find new ways to empower ourselves, to survive. Whether we call it shamanic journeying, individuation, self-actualisation, mastery, samadhi, sahaja, psychotherapy or personal development – we are all hoping for a similar outcome – to overcome our challenges.
I am not religious and I do not believe in a creator. However, I do respect the wisdom of the ages. So I encourage you to use this night to contemplate your life, to acknowledge personal limitations and to initiate your plan for change.
For me transformation does not come from searching for the light, it stems from acknowledging the darkness. This is why I honour Shiva iconography. He symbolises the sun and the moon, light and dark – for without one you cannot have the other.
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Article originally published on 24 January 2017 on drnbuldeo.wordpress.com.
Dr Nitasha Buldeo is an Integrated Medical Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Scientist and Yogi. She created I-Yoga & Organic Apoteke and is Director of the Centre for Exceptional Human Performance. She researches human potential and delivers programs that encourage you to live exceptionally. Nitasha believes that every one of us is striving to be the best we can. Her passion is bringing you experiences that inspire you. Her intention is for you to unlock your genius.